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A Group Selection Perspective on Economic Behavior, Institutions and Organizations

Jeroen van den Bergh and John Gowdy ()

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Abstract: This article examines the role of group dynamics and interactions in explaining economic behavior and the evolution of institutions. Our starting point is the large literature on group selection in the biological, behavioral and social sciences. We present a range of interpretations of group selection, describe a complete set of group selection mechanisms, and discuss the empirical and experimental evidence for group selection. Unique features of cultural group selection are investigated, and opportunities for applying the latter to various areas of economic theory and economic policy are identified.

Keywords: B52; D02; D71; Altruism; Altruistic punishment; Assortment; Downward causation; Functionalism; Group formation; Multilevel selection; Other-regarding preferences (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009-05-09
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Published in Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Elsevier, 2009, 72 (1), pp.1. 〈10.1016/j.jebo.2009.04.017〉

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DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2009.04.017

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